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Author: Olga Romanyuk (Football/Hockey Newspaper)
Translated By: Eugene Belashchenko
Date: 10/18/2005
Vadim Khomitsky (Dallas Stars) Interview Part 1: My first coach told me - someone that angry has to be on defense!

2006 Russian Super League

CSKA defensemen Vadim Khomitsky (Dallas Stars) and Trakhanov are looking on from the bench
He is such a tough defenseman! It seems that there is nothing that this, seemingly not very big guy will not face. Khomitsky is not afraid to play physically- he crushed the same bigger Malkin into the boards when his CSKA skated against Malkin's Metallurg. That's the 23 year old's occupation- he is a defenseman. And who is to say that he does not do his job well?

It turned out that the meeting of Football and Hockey correspondent with Khomitsky was his first...interview. "Let's meet, no problem" was the player's first reaction "What are we going to be talking about?" Only the next day at the sushi bar across from the CSKA arena did Vadim inquire as to the reason why there was interest in him: "This is the first time for me".

Not it's time for a bit of history. At eight and a half years, Vadim arrived with his skates to Vosskresensk's hockey school. He already knew how to skate and how to hold a hockey stick. He was told "skate around and we will see". A half a year later: "You can stay with us". By that time he already liked the sport himself. Fast-forward to 1999, Vadim is a member of Russia's U18 squad in Boston and earns the title of the top defenseman of the tournament. Upon his return he joined Khimik's first team. The season starts and he spends half a year on the bench. Then someone contacts him from CSKA. That same young CSKA that skated in the High League (Russia 2). On Viktor Tikhonov's team, Khomitsky finds a place in the main lineup right away and does not return to the Khimik that lent him there. He grew up along with the youthful CSKA out of the High League and into the Super League.

You beat Magnitogorsk, but then lose to Vityaz. Last season it was the same thing- you would compete against the top ranked opponents, but then lose your points to the outsiders, against the same Molot. What's the problem? Is it psychological?
V. Khomtisky: Last season we prepared more for the more serious opponents than for the weaker ones. This is what caused all the problems. Molot took away from us, if you add them up, enough points to get into the playoffs. Underestimation of an opponent can definitely happen too. Today's CSKA also can't be underestimated. Believe me, we are not throwing our points around any more.

However, I can still feel that CSKA's game has some uncertainty in it.
V. Khomtisky: Against that same Magnitigorsk during the first five minutes. After that, as soon as we let in a goal, we started to play differently. Started to move more, confront the opponent better. Then, we started to win the individual battles. During the second period we beat Magnitogorsk cleanly. If they evened it out, it was only thanks to the referees that they scored three goals. This motivated us even more!

You were penalized several times, hitting the glass with the stick once. Was it nerves, bitterness?
V. Khomtisky: Not really. During that episode I was at fault 100 percent. I was criticizing myself for it. I was worried that we would be scored on while I am on the bench for two minutes.

And Bykov, I think, behaved himself not very well. Vyacheslav Arkadyevich was complaining to the referees to such a degree that he even angered the opponents' bench.
V. Khomtisky: That happened when we were scored on. Bykov tried to prove that the opponent scored with a high stick and in the crease. The referee declined to even watch the video replay. Yes, Bykov is an emotional person. He got wound up.

Does playing in games against the leaders especially motivate you?
V. Khomtisky: I try to hit the ice motivated and aggressive for every game. What's the main thing for us? To be confident and aggressive.

TIKHONOV TRUSTED ME, BUT BYKOV UNBOUND ME
Still, last season CSKA was consistently 10th. What did the team lack last season? Molot has nothing to do with it...
V. Khomtisky: - (Pause)...We had a good team and should have finished in the top eight. I don't know and have trouble explaining it. Somewhere we may have just been unlucky. I just don't know.

During Tikhonov's era you noticeably developed individually, but now with Bykov at the helm you seem to have stayed at the same level.
V. Khomtisky: I don't agree. Each coach brings something unique. Tikhonov, without any exaggerations, opened the path for me to professional hockey. He screamed a lot, but he also trusted me, and let me play all the games. The ice time is essential! You can practice all you want, but if you don't play, you will never develop into anything. Bykov gave me confidence, and even unbound me a little bit. During Tikhonov's time, defensemen could never skate into the offensive zone, but Bykov untied our hands a bit in this regard.

So, Bykov is a better coach?
V. Khomtisky: My business is to play, not to discuss coaches.

What goals did Viktor Vasiliyevich Tikhonov place prior to games? What does Vyacheslav Akradevich Bykov do now?
V. Khomtisky: Hmm...interesting. Each coach has his own methods prior to each game. Prior to the games against Dynamo and Magnitogorsk, the coach didn't have to motivate the team. Everyone understood that they are going out there to battle. You motivate and prepare yourself: Magnitogorsk passes quickly: if you get out of position just a bit, they won't let it go and will score immediately.

Have you ever have any disagreements with Tikhonov?
V. Khomtisky: What kind of disagreements could we have had? I put my head down and carefully examined my laces and took it all in. I did like everyone else, especially the young players.

But Zherdev didn't listen...
V. Khomtisky: He already knew that he would be leaving, so maybe thought too much of himself.

There were rumors that there those on the team who were also against Zherdev?
V. Khomtisky: No, if he right now joins CSKA, he will be accepted as a great addition to the team. CSKA remains a team whether it is with or without Zherdev. Yes, he is a good player, but he is not here and another player took his place.

Written By: Olga Romanyuk (Football/Hockey Newspaper)
Translated By: Eugene Belashchenko (RussianProspects.com)

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